I won’t deny that living in the big city after growing up in Palm Springs has been one of the most exciting adventures of my life, but, despite however much I might love all of the noise and chaos, it is really nice to escape to the calm and quiet every once in a while. Such an opportunity presented itself this past weekend when I decided to take Stephane up to the Kibbutz that my father used to live on 34 years ago when he was in Israel. My dad told me so many amazing things about this place, and described its overwhelming beauty, that I figured it would be a great getaway for the two of us, and an opportunity to introduce Stephane to my father’s Israeli family.
Thursday night arrived very quickly and after the conclusion of our studies we made our way to the train station next to my house to head up North for our Kibbutz stay. We arrived to Ma’agan Michael around 8:30pm, managed to get ripped off by a cab driver (welcome to Israel), met with our host mother, Pnina (my father’s Israeli mother), and then went to her home for a lovely omlet dinner before heading to our guest house. It was a treat to discover that we were getting our own caravan for the weekend!
After a delicious meal it was time for Stephane and me to get a good night sleep. We were both up and on the go since 7am that morning and were very ready for sleep.
The next day we slept in until about 9:30 and were collected by Pnina around 10 to go to the big dinning hall for breakfast. I wish I took pictures in the hall when the food was out because I have honestly never seen so much food in my life. We had to take a 10 minute turn about around the hall just to see all of the options available to us! Finally we selected what we wanted to eat and went to meet Pnina at one of the tables overlooking the Mediterranean. It was one of the best breakfasts I have ever had despite the fact that when I was finished I felt like I was about to explode!
After finishing our pounds of food we said goodbye to Pnina (who had to go to her granddaughter’s school for a little party), and took about 45 minutes to walk around the kibbutz before going to meet Pnina’s youngest son and his family. Luckily for us, due to the fact that we were in a severe food coma, Pnina’s son lived very close to our caravan so we didn’t have to over exert ourselves with too much walking. We arrived to his beautiful home and as we entered a beautiful, new baby puppy was right at the door to greet us! You can only imagine how happy I must have been. Give me a Golden Retriever puppy and I die! After our introductions and a little kibitzing, Stephane and I headed back to our caravan for a nap before our 3pm tour of the kibbutz. We usually aren’t nap people but after all of that food our bodies gave us little choice!
Around 3pm Pnina’s son, Uzi, picked us up in his golf cart and took us on a lovely tour of the entire kibbutz.Our first stop was very special and we were taken to the cemetery on site to see the grave of Uzi’s father, a man who was very special to my dad. We took some pictures to send my dad and got to hear a little bit about his amazing life.
After visiting the grave we went to see one of the kibbutz’s biggest industries: Fish. Inside the Kibbutz are many, many fish ponds, and we were even shown where they breed and raise exotic coy fish that they export all over the world. Stephane’s father used to be a fisherman so fish are close to his heart! Unfortunately we didn’t end up going fishing like I thought, but the fish we saw coupled with the wildlife we were exposed to on the Kibbutz (exotic birds), donkeys, ostriches, cows, and horses, made the lack of fishing bearable 🙂
At around 4 we had to end our tour and return to Uzi’s home for some coffee and relaxation before Shabbat. I, of course, was so excited for any excuse to play with the puppy again and was all to happy to participate in family time by taking her out for a walk with Stephane. We had a nice warm cappuccino, time to really get to know his family, and it was a perfect way to end the day and ring in Shabbat!
After a few hours with Uzi we returned to our caravan to shower and get ready for a big shabbat dinner on the Kibbutz. We could only imagine after seeing how the breakfast was how amazing the Shabbat meal would be in the dining hall. We arrived around 7:30 to the dining hall, were again overwhelmed by the food, and we had a perfect Shabbat dinner with Pnina, her oldest son, his children, and parent’s in law. After dinner we headed down with the grow-ups to a coffee house under the dining hall, had our tea, coffee, and dessert (even though Stephane and I couldn’t even think about eating any more), had really nice conversations, and then headed back home for a good night sleep. I forgot to mention that most of the weekend was conducted in Hebrew, so whenever we were in a big group setting we were not really using much English at all! I was very proud of myself!
Stay tuned for a post on day 2 of Kibbutz life and then our big day outing to Jaffa!
Until we meet again <3,